Hollywood actors have long the trendsetters for everything from fashion to style, to foreign adoptions and charitable causes. While most Hollywood actors still continue to change partners faster than they can change their underwear, for a while now, top Tinsletown stars have been dabbling in a liberal, controversial, and arguably immoral relationship style: the open marriage, an arrangement where one partner is free to pursue sexual relations with external third parties with the permission, even blessing, of the other spouse.
Judging from the high rate of Hollywood divorces, Hollywood’s “openness” towards open marriages should come as no surprise. Dolly Parton is reportedly in an open marriage, and Angelina Jolie apparently has made the request to Brad Pitt.
But how many of these open celebrity marriages are only speculation, and even more importantly, how many actually succeed, given that most Hollywood stars’ lives are shrouded in secrecy and most married stars rightfully refuse to comment on their bedroom habits to the tabloids?
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett
It would strongly appear that the secret to their successful, long-lasting and highly respected Hollywood marriage is sex…with other people. In a frank and candid conversation with UK magazine Reveal, Will revealed that “our perspective is you don’t avoid what’s natural and you’re going to be attracted to other people.”
If there was any ambiguity that “natural” referred to sexual polygamy, Will continued to clarify, in an interview with UK-based Female First, that “in our marriage vows, we didn’t say ‘forsaking all others.’ The vow that we made was that you will never hear that I did something after the fact…If it came down to it, then one spouse can say to the other, ‘Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I’m not going to if you don’t approve of it – but please approve of it.'”
Married since New Year’s Eve 1995, both Will and Jada spend an enormous amount of time apart, but admit that they speak daily via telephone. Truly one of the happiest couples in Hollywood, perhaps the reality of their extensive time spent apart, their intense involvement with super sexy on-screen co-stars, and their mutual understanding make the permissive nature of their open marriage defy the test of time.
Pink and Carey Hart
Headache and heartache pulled the plug on Pink and motocross star Carey’s almost two year relationship. Married since 1996, the couple called it quits in 2008 after Carey’s reputed cheating and Pink’s rumored lesbian shenanigans. While the couple never confessed to any formal open arrangement in their marriage, several sources quoted Pink saying that “Carey could play away from home, while she was on tour, implying her open and lax attitude towards external sexual encounters.
Apparently, if Pink let him play, Carey either played the game too long or too well, and ending up cheating at it. Following the divorce Pink allegedly regretted allowing the open nature of their marriage, according to several, albeit unsubstantiated tabloids. Despite rumors of Hart’s antics with a blonde that Pink initially knew and approved of, she continues to stress that the divorce was not over infidelity, but rather that different mentalities drove her and hubby Hart apart. The verdict is still out on whether their open marriage really existed, and whether or not the open arrangement impeded on itself.
Monique and Sidney Hicks
An open marriage isn’t some joke for comedienne Monique and partner, Sidney Hicks; it’s a publicly asserted fact and a seriously mutual agreement. Best friends since they were 14 years old and married since 2006, Monique and Hicks base their relationship on honesty, understanding, and frankness. Now onto her third marriage, perhaps marital permissiveness is the key to making Monique’s third round of nuptials finally last.
In an interview with New York Times, Monique asserted, “we have no secrets, we have no sneakiness. We never have to worry about, You deceived me.’ “The main question people have is, Can y’all sleep with other people?’ Do we set out to do that? Of course not, I love my husband. But if that was to happen, would it be a deal breaker? Of course not.”
Monique says that an open marriage is not just about sex with other people. It isn’t an inevitability, just an option. She clarified on the Oprah Winfrey show that her above comments to the New York Times were misinterpreted. “”When I said I had an open marriage, people automatically jumped to sex. They automatically went there,” she reports to Oprah.
Still, her statements about her relationship with Hicks prompts the question: if the public shouldn’t automatically assume that an open marriage just implies sex, what the heck else are they open about in their marriage?
It is unclear whether or not Hollywood open marriages are a happy agreement, an alternative lifestyle choice of the rich and famous, a spouse-sanctioned sexual outlet in a business full of very sexy people, a convenient choice for distanced couples on lengthy film shoots, the disillusioned result of failed monogamous marriages, or simply the result of superficial values.
But one thing is clear: a contemporary, open marriage stamped by spousal approved cheating still doesn’t completely prevent secretive infidelity from taking place, as odd as it seems. Guess the boundaries between sex, love and convenience are still blurry and need a little more definition.